Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche
Genre of book

Valcourt is a Quebecois that moved to Rwanda in hopes of opening up a television station there with the blessing of the Rwanda government and the help of the Canadian government. However both kept dragging their feet and Valcourt turned his efforts toward creating a documentary about AIDS. While staying in the famous Mille Collines, he spends his days in Kigali, interviewing those with AIDS. Valcourt befriends many Hutus and Tutsis, but falls in love with a server at the hotel named Gentille. Gentille is a Hutu by birth, but is tall and beautiful so that any Rwandan would mistake her as a Tutsi. Obviously, not what you want to be mistaken for at the start of the Rwandan genocide.

Valcourt and Gentille plan to get married but want to marry in Rwanda, as Valcourt has adopted this as his new home. His Tutsi friends start to get murdered and tossed at the side of the road, yet Valcourt and Gentille still stay in Rwanda. Despite their explanations, I can't understand why anyone would put themselves in this type of danger. There are horror stories about mutilations and dehumanization that leave you in shock.

The first chapter of this book doesn't do the book justice. I was thinking that I was going to have to pass on the book because of the poor first chapter. If you do decide to pick this book up, don't let the first chapter get to you! The book gets far better once the author picks up a story line and follows it. It's a touching story of love in a horrible time and there's even a bit of a twist at the end!

First Line: "In the middle of Kigali there is a swimming pool surrounded by deckchairs and a score of tables all made of white plastic."



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